“What is writing? Telepathy, of course.”
Stephen King

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions
there is a sound of electric feedback and footsteps walking across a darken
Wed 2016-03-16 00:11:36 (single post)
  • 1,085 words (if poetry, lines) long

[insert tapping noise and cliched quip about microphone testing here]

Er. Hi. So... writing! How about it? I hear this blog is supposed to be all about actually doing that thing.

Haven't touched the new short story in some time. It keeps falling off the back of the priority list while Other Things take over. I've been thinking about it, though--and while they say (and they say true) that "thinking about writing isn't writing," thinking can help prepare the way for the writing. Hopefully when I finally get to finishing the draft (this week! Maybe?) some of that thinking will show up on the page.

I did get last week's Friday Fictionette out on time, more or less. It's called "How Fetches Become Real" and it's sort of like the first act of The Unlikely Ones (Mary Brown) meets the last act of The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams). So that's fine. What I'm embarrassed about is how late I am at getting the Fictionette Artifacts ("fictionettes in your mailbox, typewritten and illustrated by me!") into the mail. This is something that matters to exactly two people in the world so far; to them, my apologies. Tomorrow! The mail will go out... tomorrow, betcher bottom dollar that tomorrow... there'll be mail... *ahem*

So, with very little to report on the writing front, how about a book review? Semi-review? A book report, maybe? I just finished reading T. Kingfisher's The Raven and the Reindeer. In fact, I've been on a bit of a T. Kingfisher binge, because why haven't I read everything by her yet? Well, get on that! So I am. It is now my absolute favorite retelling of "The Snow Queen," and it had Kelly Link's "Travels with the Snow Queen" ("Ladies. Has it ever occurred to you that fairy tales are hard on the feet?") to contend with for that title. So very much is right about it. From the start, Gerta is introduced as a young girl with a crush on her oldest friend, with all the uncertainties and squirming insides and embarrassment and worry that comes with. Not to mention that naive blindness to Kay's faults, the willingness to explain away the ways he's careless with her feelings because he is everything she always wanted and without wanting him who would she be? My heart went out to her and stayed with her the whole way through.

Kingfisher's treatment of the robber girl, here named Janna, was superb. I can't get over how much depth and complexity she's given. Plus she and the protagonist are my OTP, y'all, I have shipped them in my little fannish heart forever, and here Kingfisher has put their romance right on the page, growing from tiny seeds of discovery into an engine of courage that drives both characters to suffer any hardship necessary out of love for each other. (Speaking of which--there is no nonsense on these pages about Gerta's greatest strength being her "purity" and "innocent heart", thank you very much Hans Christian Andersen. What a burden of expectation to put on a child! Kingfisher's Gerta is no angelic paragon, thank goodness. She's a teenage girl full of emotions and insecurities and desires, some of which desires are unashamedly sexual.

Gerta's journey has the explicit purpose of rescuing Kay, but that's not the most important thing it accomplishes. Gerta's journey is about Gerta growing up and discovering who she might choose to be.

And then there's the titular raven and reindeer, and what the latter gives to Gerta, and lessons learned about death and life, and there's a whole troupe of otters who are utterly adorable, and and and everything is fantastic. And I was having a tough day, the day I finished reading it, and the book made me cry happy tears at the end, which is always a good remedy for a day that involved crying not-happy tears. It sort of transmutes the weepiness into beauty, detaches the tears from the hurtful experience and reattaches them to a transcendently enjoyable one.

TL;DR: I really liked this book and heartily recommend it.

What would a gNu fish do?
YPP Weekend Blockades, Mar 12: We job all night to get lucky
Sat 2016-03-12 14:13:49 (single post)

It's Saturday and have I got some Nus for you... GET IT?! GET IT?!

I did not come up with that. DON'T BLAME ME. Blame Majorjr on the Cerulean Ocean, announcing that Babylon has scuttled and will be defending against Admiral Finius at Nu Island. (GET IT?!) Also there will be improv comedy:

Once per segment per ship, at any time, a jobber can /shout Infomercial!*. When they do this, the navigator of the ship must do the most comical move they can think of.

BIG IMPORTANT SEMI-ANNUAL REMINDER: DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME In the Pirate Time Zone, we set our clocks ahead by one hour tomorrow morning at 2:00 AM. The times listed here for any blockade scheduled for Sunday may be off by 1 hour. I don't think they are - the majority of them are showing a noon start time, which is about right. But I'll check in tomorrow morning and see if anything needs correcting.

Update: Yes, all the Sunday blockades had been reported as starting an hour earlier than they were actually to start. The times should now be correct as stated.

What else? Hmm. Well, I'm amused that the big multi-island grudge match on Emerald appears to be between flags named Keep the Peace and This Means War. Also, there is no ocean that's absent from the blockade schedule this time around. How often does that happen?

So while I was scouring the forum for blockade intent posts and flag gossip, I found a couple events to tell you about:

  • From now until they run out of prize boxes: Forage for gold! Job with Divergent! Win a prize!
  • March 17: Lucky Dip Ocean Masters will be prowling the ocean, ready to 1v1 you and wager a PRESENT on the outcome!

Do not poke the boxes. Do not taunt the OMs. Do have fun.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, March 12 ***

11:04 a.m. - Accompong-Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Glare
Attacker: Die Erleuchteten (1)

11:04 a.m. - Paihia-Insel, Opal Ocean
Defender: Glare
Attacker: Ursa Major
Attacker: Schatten-Reich

12:00 p.m. - Marlowe Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Coming In Hot
Attacker: Black Veil (5)

12:00 p.m. - Isla Ventress, Jade Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: CORSARIOS DE POSEIDÓN
Attacker: Sortilegio (1)

1:05 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (6)
Attacker: The Crazy Department
Attacker: Black Flag

2:00 p.m. - Stormy Fell, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (7)
Attacker: Malicious Intent

*** Sunday, March 13 ***

10:00 a.m. - Windward Vale, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Jinx (6)

10:00 a.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (11)

1:00 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: This Means War

1:00 p.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: This Means War

1:00 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

1:00 p.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: This Means War

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, March 12 ***

12:00 p.m. - Nu Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Babylon
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (4)

*** Sunday, March 13 ***

12:04 p.m. - Tigerleaf Mountain, Cerulean Ocean
Defender: The Coalition
Attacker: The Insane Asylum

YPP Weekend Blockades, Mar 5: What if they threw a 'kade and no one came?
Sat 2016-03-05 12:58:06 (single post)

Happy Saturday! For your YPP blockading pleasure, we have... well, a few, anyway. Some notes of interest:

On the Meridian Ocean, in addition to competing with Knockout for control of Napi Peak and Nightshade, Imperial Coalition will be hosting a series of Event Blockades on Sunday morning. No idea whether they'll seek jobbers on the Notice Board or whether this is an exclusively inter-ally affair. But if they don't invite you to play, it's a good bet you can get in on the mid-day action between Chapter Three and Knockout over at Windward Vale.

On the Opal Ocean, there is the unusual circumstance of a blockade without a defender. Presumably Tumult-Insel has been left without player governance; Ursa Major seems willing to fill the gap.

Meanwhile, it's the first weekend in March, so we've got a brand new Seal o' Piracy to hunt! In honor of March Madness, you'll get your limited edition trophy by...

Participating in 5 different tournaments!

Good luck, have fun, earn PoEs! XOXOX

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, March 5 ***

11:00 a.m. - Tumult-Insel, Opal Ocean
Attacker: Ursa Major

12:28 p.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

12:42 p.m. - Nightshade Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

5:48 p.m. - Ventress Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Shadows of Sage
Attacker: Destroyers Of the Ocean

*** Sunday, March 6 ***

7:01 a.m. - Tigerleaf Mountain, Meridian Ocean
Event: 7 rounds, nonsinking
Hosted by: Imperial Coalition

8:05 a.m. - Duat Island, Meridian Ocean
Event: 7 rounds, sinking!
Hosted by: Imperial Coalition

8:07 a.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Event: 1 round, nonsinking
Hosted by: Imperial Coalition

10:07 a.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (8)
Attacker: Imperfect Method

11:13 a.m. - Windward Vale, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Chapter Three
Attacker: Knockout

Cover art incorporates original photography by the author, whose doorbell says DING DONG and whose doormat says HI. I'M MAT.
this fictionette eats super local
Fri 2016-03-04 23:10:03 (single post)
  • 1,012 words (if poetry, lines) long

OMG a Friday Fictionette released on an actual Friday what is the world COMING TO. Also, consider yourself warned that "The Call Is Coming From Inside the Building" get out of there.

So this new work schedule of John's is having a salutary effect on my own. Unless I have a very convincing reason to stay in bed (like, say, the morning after skating in two epic back-to-back interleague scrimmages that left me sore and gloriously multicolored, just for instance), I get up when he does, whereupon we have breakfast together before he heads over to the office. And then I actually get a full day of writing done according to the master plan for world domination through workerlike fiction production. And life is magical.

The quest for breakfast also sent me about half a mile up the road on my bike to a nearby farm whose sign in their driveway advertising Fresh Eggs has been catching my eye every time I head up to roller derby practice. This would be The Diaz Farm, which, it turns out, in addition to selling farm-fresh eggs daily for $5.50 the dozen, is accepting CSA sign-ups for the 2016 season. I am all over that. 2016 will be the year of eating super locally, with pork sausage from the pig farmer who skates on our B team and rents us our practice space (her derby name is Baconator, naturally, and everything about her is made of awesome), and chicken from McCauley Family Farm where I used to volunteer (and may again someday, who knows), and now fresh veg from The Diaz Farm which is literally in my neighborhood considering I can darn well get there on my bike, rain or shine, in under 10 minutes. Given their extreme proximity, which is convenient given my lack of daytime access to a car, I asked them if they were taking volunteers. The answer was, not yet but we'll let you know. They are a very small operation.

Yesterday I turned one of those McCauley chickens into one of my very most favorite recipes from Kenneth Lo's The Top One Hundred Chinese Dishes, "Whole Chicken Soup with Chinese Cabbage (Bai Cai Ji Tang)." This sent me on another bicycle quest, this time for Napa cabbage. The little international grocery at Valmont and 28th can always be counted on to have that. Also fresh okra at any old time of the year. Also, and I was entirely unprepared to discover this, mirleton (aka "chayote"). I suspect my next chicken dish will be chicken and andouille gumbo on a stewed okra base with a side helping of shrimp and mirleton casserole.

You know what else you can get at international groceries? CDM coffee. Truly, New Orleans is another country.

springing forward and marching ahead
Tue 2016-03-01 23:44:24 (single post)
  • 995 words (if poetry, lines) long

Things are getting back on track around here, and not a moment too soon. Daily writing things got done throughout the weekend and right up through today. I'm getting ready to send all the recently rejected short stories right back out into the fray, and I'm wrapping up the end-of-month fictionette tasks. On that note, I've designated "It's That Little Something Extra" as the Fictionette Freebie for the month of February 2016; follow that link to the full text in HTML, and follow links you will find there for the PDF and MP3 options. (I make one fictionette free for everyone at the end of every month, but it's subscribers only who get to download all four per month the moment each comes out. And now you know.)

On that note, I've spent much of today's afternoon shift typing up two of the February fictionettes on my typewriter, getting them ready to mail to my two Patrons at the fictionettes-in-your-mailbox level, and I have to say that there's nothing like manually typing up a piece of fiction to become painfully aware of all the "favorite words" (continue, achieve... what else? I forget now) and the places where I probably could have phrased things more compactly. And then there's the times where I misanticipate the next phrase and end up just going with it because I don't want to spend time and corrective tape fixing it. All of which just goes to show that these typewritten Fictionette Artifacts are entirely limited edition specimens with unique typographical features all their own. *ahem*

In other news, I finally read The Interior Life by Katherine Blake (Dorothy Heydt). It was my first Perk purchase--which is to say, I redeemed Perk (née Viggle) points for a gift card, and I used the gift card to buy the book. Winning! But that's not the point. The point is that this is a dang good book. It's a book the likes of which you don't see every day. Jo Walton wrote a lovely review of it at Tor.com about six years ago, about the way it's really two stories that move along side-by-side, and one of those stories is entirely in the domestic "housewife" domain--Painting the walls! Doing laundry! Trying out recipes in advance of hosting parties!--and that is honored just as much as the other story's domain of adventure, sorcery, warfare, and derring-do.

When the fantasy quest story cuts into the narrative, it's signaled by a change of font so subtle that the author herself had trouble distinguishing it in the published copy. I noticed it--at least, I got the impression that the type had gotten more compact and slightly "pointy" in the way of serifed calligraphy, but I kept questioning whether I'd really seen it. (A comparison of the letter "e" dispelled any doubts.) Thing is, I love that. The subtlety feels right, echoing the main character's having slid from household chores into a fantasy life without realizing it for maybe a page and a half before she goes "Woah, where did that come from?"

Anyway, I love this book with all my heart. Also, reading it made me suddenly quite eager to clean the frickin' house already. Which is convenient. John started his new job this week, such that instead of working from home as he has for the past couple years, he'll now be working from an office nearby in Boulder. Which means the division of household chores will shift a bit towards me, since he won't be able to do a bit here and a bit there between day job tasks anymore. But I was home and I did do a bit here and a bit there between my work-a-day tasks, and now laundry is done and the compost has been taken out and so have the recyclables and I also did large portion of the weekend dishes.

I am bad-ass, y'all.

Also I will be rereading The Interior Life all over again shortly because I need to fortify myself against spring cleaning.

(Spring! Can we call it spring yet? Is it safe to call it spring? Pleeeeeeease? It's March!)

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions.
Click through for yadda yadda yadda.
all right what's next
Sun 2016-02-28 00:56:40 (single post)
  • 1,095 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,059 words (if poetry, lines) long

And now we are all caught up. Again. For as long as that lasts. In any case, "Weird Quantum Science" is the Friday Fictionette for, er, yesterday, and "The Touch of Iron" is the much belated fictionette for the Friday before that. Which makes four for February. Ta-da!

Why I keep getting behind on this stuff is very simple. In theory, I'm to spend a little time every day working on the next one that's due. Simple. Perfectly achievable. Leaves plenty of room for other writing tasks, like the production of publishable short stories and all that. But in practice, something happens most days per week to keep me getting to my daily fictionette-prep session. And then Friday comes and the thing isn't even drafted, much less exported to PDF and paired with some sort of cover art and also recorded to mp3. And Friday has whatever it's got waiting in the wings or hovering over my evening or sabotaging my afternoon, and there's no way I'm putting in all three or four hours it's going to take.

It's just like NaNoWriMo, right? You do your 1,667 every day, or your 3,333 every other day, whatever--or you do a 10K marathon at the last minute. Or worse. And I hate marathons. I'm much better at daily sprints.

So there's my confession for the week: I've kind of been sucking at this time management thing. But a new week starts now! A new month starts next week! New leaves: I am turning them over at a rapid pace! Watch them fly!

Do I perchance hear someone snickering in the peanut gallery? Do I? Surely not! Oh, wait... it's me. Because I do this every week. Every evening. "I give up. I'm done. I'm going to sleep. But tomorrow will be better!"

Well, and tomorrow will be better. Just... in small increments. But small increments do add up.

caw!
YPP Weekend Blockades, Feb 27: max pay 4 max fun til flagsit
Sat 2016-02-27 13:54:13 (single post)
  • 1,095 words (if poetry, lines) long

I've been lapse in my actually writing updates, and I'm gonna get lapser; this is not an actually writing update. This is your weekend Puzzle Pirates blockades roundup. Why? Because it's Saturday, and time and tide (and the blockade schedule) wait for no pirate.

Absolutely nothing seems to be scheduled for Cerulean. That's unusual. As though to make up for it, the Emerald and Meridian Oceans are hoppin'. They got multi-drops, Brigand King scuffles, and, in the case of Emerald, a whole bunch of max pay offers for the noon blockades.

Chapter Three would like you to know a little bit more about their attack on Raven's Roost (Meridian)...

Our JC/LA is out of town and will be sending in a few ships just for fun to see what Corteezism is made of! See you there. Pay starting at 69 poe per seg.

And Bite the Pillow have this to say about their Admiral Island operations (Emerald)

Come join us and help save Shigby's cat. Pay as crazy as it can be and good luck to both sides.

I'm not sure about the cat (more details might be available in their intent video, linked from the forum post), but pay is very much over the top. Well, the game won't let you go over the top. It's right at the top, 9,999 Pieces of Eight per segment (PoE/seg).

An actually writing update will probably be coming later on today. The preview summary is this: The week 3 Friday Fictionette for February did indeed go out on--I think it was Tuesday of this past week; the week 4 Friday Fictionette is a touch late but will probably be out later today. I hope so, anyway. There's no good reason it shouldn't be. But then again, when have I needed a good reason to slack off? *le sigh* Well, here's to optimism. Please stand by....

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 27 ***

10:34 a.m. - Hubbles Auge, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Alianca da Aguia
Attacker: Chthonische Horden (1)

12:14 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Bite the Pillow
Undeclared: Keep the Peace

12:14 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

12:35 p.m. - Gallows Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rebound
Attacker: The Crazy Department

12:36 p.m. - Paihia Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rebound
Attacker: The Crazy Department

12:37 p.m. - Iocane Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Rebound
Attacker: The Crazy Department

1:13 p.m. - Isla Spaniel, Jade Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: La Llama que todo lo consume (1)
Attacker: CORSARIOS DE POSEIDÓN

1:39 p.m. - Lilac Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Necessary Roughness

1:40 p.m. - Duat Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Necessary Roughness

2:00 p.m. - Zuyua Mist, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Coming Soon
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (3)

4:00 p.m. - Raven's Roost, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Chapter Three
Attacker: Corteezism

6:00 p.m. - The Lowland Hundred, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Jinx (3)

*** Sunday, February 28 ***

11:37 a.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (6)
Attacker: Keep the Peace

12:00 p.m. - Napi Peak, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (13)

YPP Weekend Blockades, Feb 20: Otherworld holding a CI wake
Sat 2016-02-20 14:04:23 (single post)

A couple of weeks ago we got the news that Darksidemoon (Cerulean Ocean, flag Otherworld) had passed away and left us bereft. This weekend sees her flaggies taking a tour of the Cursed Isles in a war brig in her honor. "Moonie absolutely loved to CI and would find it especially amusing to see us attempt one on a war brig." This will be at 7 PM Pirate Time on Saturday, February 20. You are requested to wear whatever you've got in black. I mean, obviously, it's what you wear to funerals. But in this case it's more because that was all Moonie would wear. She just liked the color black. Everyone used to save their black rags to give to her. So that's what we're doing to honor her memory. Obviously black is one of the more expensive colors, what with the cost of kraken's blood and all that, but wear 'em if you got 'em and Otherworld will appreciate the thought.

Meanwhile, there are about a bazillion blockades happening, especially on the Meridian and Emerald oceans, and almost every single one of them is happening Sunday. Your chronicler is grumbling a bit about that, since her roller derby practice schedule prohibits her participation. But she hopes you have a great time!

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 20 ***

3:29 p.m. - Ansel Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (3)
Attacker: Licence to Kill

*** Sunday, February 21 ***

10:00 a.m. - Tigerleaf Mountain, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (11)

10:35 a.m. - Nightshade Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

10:45 a.m. - Lilac Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

10:51 a.m. - Duat Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Knockout

11:00 a.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (10)
Attacker: Bite the Pillow

11:02 a.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:02 a.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:02 a.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:02 a.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

11:55 a.m. - Carmine Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

11:56 a.m. - Harmattan Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

11:57 a.m. - Swampfen Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Cream Pie
Attacker: Imperial Coalition

12:00 p.m. - Stormy Fell, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: Chthonic Horde (8)

12:00 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Knockout
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (10)

12:00 p.m. - Hadrian Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Barely Dressed
Attacker: Jinx (10)

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, February 20 ***

12:00 p.m. - Namath Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Babylon
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (5)

driving through the fog of an unscheduled day
Fri 2016-02-19 23:15:33 (single post)
  • 585 words (if poetry, lines) long

You know what's the worst? Totally unscheduled days. No, really--you get up right on time, you do your first writing task, then you think, "I have all day to do the rest of my writing," and then you go bike all over town, take yourself out for lunch, run errands, take a long nap because you just biked all over town in the gloriously warm sun--and then suddenly it's late in the evening and there is not enough time in the world to get everything done.

Well, OK, maybe you don't. Maybe you're smart. I seem to not be very smart when it comes to managing totally unscheduled days. Hence, Saturday is the Friday, etc. etc., many apologies, check back tomorrow.

Meanwhile! New fiction. The new short story is proceeding slowly in a sort of NaNoWriMo-esque way. Not as regards word-count, though. As regards discovery. I only really know what happens in one scene, which makes the whole endeavor sort of scary--but, so what? Write that one scene. It is amazing what little details pop up when writing that one scene, and what guiding stars those details can be. For instance, when the main character noticed that the weird tree had oak bark but "five-fingered leaves that reminded me of my father's maple farm"--OK, that's a clumsy sentence that could use some revision, but shut up, that's not the point. The point is, now I know her Dad runs, or used to run, a maple syrup operation. Which in turn gives me a clue about where she might have grown up, what kind of activities she might have enjoyed as a child, and also the nature of her relationship with trees. The latter is more significant than you might think; the first scene depicts a tree transforming into a man right in front of her eyes.

We're back to E. L. Doctorow analogy of writing being "like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way." Some versions of the quote add the extra hazard of fog. Imagine a blizzard, too, if you like. The point of the analogy remains the same: The little chunk of road (story) that you see now enables you to drive into (write) the next chunk of road (story).

Anyway. Fictionette tomorrow. For serious. pMost of tomorrow afternoon is entirely unscheduled, after all...

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions.
but half these puzzle pieces are blatant forgeries
Wed 2016-02-17 00:33:09 (single post)
  • 917 words (if poetry, lines) long

Please excuse the radio silence. It was bout weekend. (No, we didn't win, but we gave 'em a darn good fight. We also picked up some good experience to help us prepare for our next bout in 6 weeks.)

Anyway, despite not blogging about it on Friday night, I did get last week's Friday Fictionette out on time. Barely. It's "Day-to-Day Invasions," and while it looks a bit like "The Magpie's Big Heist" only with a different type of bird, it's not, OK?

Meanwhile, there's the new short story to write. The freewriting session I chose as its source material is worryingly slight. I mean, there's a tree that turns into a man, and a woman who's turned into a bit of a hermit, and they absolutely positively do not fall in love at all. I've got that much. That's... not a lot to got, honestly. It's enough to make my resolve to Write A New Thing waver like the air over a hot road. I kind of want to run screaming back to my revision queue where I know all the stories back to front even if I'm not sure how to make them right.

When did "writing a new thing" become the scary part of this gig?

Anyway, I spent some time today babbling to myself about the possible plot points, thematic aspirations, potential pitfalls, and obvious literary allusions. There's actually a good deal of material available in that initial freewriting session, but it's like a collection of random jigsaw puzzle pieces which number somewhat less than the 2500 that the box promised and include too few edge pieces to be of use. Most of what I've got are middle pieces depicting things like blue sky and undifferentiated masses of tree leaves.

If this was actually a jigsaw puzzle, I'd probably throw it away. But the thing about writing, which is not a thing about jigsaw puzzles, is, you get to make up the missing pieces. Just invent them, out of your own head. No photo-printed cardboard nor scroll saws required!

So that's the rest of my week taken up. I hope yours is off to at least an equally good start.

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